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Ship Owners’ Insurance Clubs Come Under EU Microscope

Posted  09/1/10
The European Commission has opened a probe to investigate whether marine-insurance agreements among ship owners in the International Group of P&I Clubs (“IG”) restrict competition by blocking rivals from the market. The IG is comprised of 13 worldwide “protection and indemnity” clubs of ship owners, which together provide insurance to approximately 93 percent of ocean ships. The Commission is concerned...

Feds Debut Kinder, Gentler Horizontal Merger Guidelines

Posted  08/27/10
On August 19, 2010 – after 18 years, including a year-long revision process – the DOJ and FTC finally released a new – and kinder, gentler – version of the Horizontal Merger Guidelines. The Guidelines, originally adopted in 1968 and previously revised in 1992, “outline the principal analytical techniques, practices and the enforcement policy of the [DOJ and FTC] with respect to mergers . . . involving...

FTC Considers New Antitrust Exemptions To Rejuvenate Old Media

Posted  08/2/10
New antitrust immunity for old media is one of the options discussed by the FTC staff in its recently released Discussion Draft on proposals to support “reinventing” journalism.  The Draft is part of a project begun in May 2009 to consider the challenges faced by journalism in the digital age. After reciting well-known statistics about the broad decline of print media (revenue declines, staffing cuts, the...

Oneworld Airline Alliance Granted Antitrust Immunity By U.S. And E.U.

Posted  07/29/10
More than a decade after British Airlines and American Airlines first sought antitrust immunity for their global alliance, the U.S. Department of Transportation last week granted their request. The immunity allows the members of the so-called Oneworld Alliance – including British Airlines, American Airlines, and Iberia of Spain – to coordinate on prices, capacity, and service.  The U.S. approval follows on the...

SmithKline Beecham Breathes Easier As Class Is Delayed In Nasal Spray Antitrust Suit

Posted  07/19/10
SmithKline Beecham Corp. may be breathing a little easier for now as a result of a temporary denial of class certification in the antitrust litigation that seeks to hold the pharmaceutical company liable for delaying generic versions of the nasal spray Flonase. Judge Anita B. Brody of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ordered the plaintiffs to rebrief their motion by September 30 in...

China Edges Into Antitrust Enforcement With Break Up Of Price-Fixing Cartel

Posted  06/28/10
While no one may be predicting China will be the antitrust powerhouse of the 21st Century, its days as an antitrust neophyte appear to be ending. China’s National Development and Reform Commission (“NDRC”) of China has levied fines and administrative penalties against more than 20 producers of rice noodles.  This enforcement action represents the first application of Article 13 of China’s Anti-Monopoly Law...

Gulf Crisis Trumps Antitrust Concerns

Posted  06/18/10
Cooperation among competitors is usually the kind of activity that raises antitrust concerns.  However, with thousands of barrels of dirty crude oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico on a daily basis, the head of Federal Trade Commission is seeking to ease concerns that cooperation among competing energy companies to help the federal government solve the crisis in the Gulf would face scrutiny under federal antitrust...

German Coffee Companies Get A Wake-Up Call For Price-Fixing

Posted  06/14/10
The Bundeskartellamt, Germany's version of the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division, has announced it is fining eight coffee roasters 30 million euros ($35.9 million) for illegally fixing the price of wholesale coffee sold to bulk customers such as restaurants and hotels. Bundeskartellamt President Andreas Mundt spoke strongly about the need for antitrust regulation, saying that "cartels ... are highly...

Federal Enforcers To Come Under Senate Antitrust Subcommittee Microscope

Posted  06/3/10
On Wednesday afternoon, the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee will hold a general oversight hearing on the two federal antitrust enforcement agencies, the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition. The heads of these agencies, Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Christine Varney and Federal Trade Commission Chair Jon Leibowitz will testify.  The...

Apple May Become Punchline Of DOJ Investigation

Posted  06/1/10
Maybe comedian Jon Stewart had a point about Apple.  Last month, he chastised the chic technology company, saying: “You guys were the rebels, man, the underdogs – people believed in you!  But now, are you becoming … The Man?” It seems that the U.S. Department of Justice might agree.  According to the New York Times, the DOJ is investigating Apple for using its successful iTunes online music store to...
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